Beaucaire, Gard

For the town in the Gers département, see Beaucaire, Gers.

View over Beaucaire

Coat of arms

Coordinates: 43°48′29″N 4°38′39″E / 43.8081°N 4.6442°E / 43.8081; 4.6442Coordinates: 43°48′29″N 4°38′39″E / 43.8081°N 4.6442°E / 43.8081; 4.6442
Country France
Region Occitanie
Department Gard
Arrondissement Nîmes
Canton Beaucaire
Intercommunality Community of communes Beaucaire-Terre d'Argence
  Mayor (20142020) Julien Sanchez (FN)
Area1 86.52 km2 (33.41 sq mi)
Population (2012)2 15,860
  Density 180/km2 (470/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
INSEE/Postal code 30032 / 30300
Elevation 1–156 m (3.3–511.8 ft)
(avg. 18 m or 59 ft)

1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Beaucaire (French pronunciation: [bokɛʁ]; Occitan: Bèucaire [bɛwˈkajɾe]) is a French commune in the Gard department in the Occitanie region of southern France.[1]

The inhabitants of the commune are known as Beaucairois or Beaucairoises.[2]

The commune has been awarded one flower by the National Council of Towns and Villages in Bloom in the Competition of cities and villages in Bloom.[3]


The Canal du Rhône à Sète at Beaucaire

Beaucaire is located on the Rhône River some 15 km south-west of Avignon and 10 km north of Arles opposite Tarascon, which is in Bouches-du-Rhône department of Provence. Access to the commune is by the D999 road from Jonquières-Saint-Vincent in the west which passes through the north of the commune and the town and continues east to Tarascon. The D966L comes from Saint-Bonnet-du-Gard in the north and comes down the banks of the Rhône to the town. The D90 branches off the D986L in the commune and passes in a circle around the town then continues east across the Rhone changing to the D99B. The D15 goes south from the town to Fourques. The D38 goes south-west from the town to Bellegarde. The D28 links the Ile du Comte to the east bank of the Rhone. A railway passes through the commune coming from Tarascon in the east with two stations in the commune then it continues to Nîmes in the west. Apart from the main town there are also the districts of Gaudon, Tour Saint-Pierre, Pauvre Menage, Malatrache, Mas du Consul, Mas Saint-Andre du Boschet, Mas de la Bastide, Mas des Lecques, Le Fer a Cheval, Saujean, Mas de SAicard, Bieudon, and Enclos d'Argent. The commune has a large urban area in the north-east with the rest of the commune farmland.[4][5]

The Rhône river forms the whole eastern border of the commune as it flows south to join the sea at Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône. The river is also the departmental border between Gard and Bouches-du-Rhône. The Canal du Rhône à Sète passes through the commune from Saint-Gilles in the south-west and joins the Rhone in the town. A waterway called Laune de Pillet, a branch of the Rhone, cuts through the commune parallel to the Rhone forming the Ile de Pillet. There is an extensive network of irrigation canals covering most of the farmland.[4][5]


The entire town is located in the Rhône Valley and has fairly flat terrain mainly formed by the plain of the Rhône. The north of the commune has hills, especially north of the town centre where the castle is located (80 metres high) as well as Saint-Roman (130 metres).


A list of online mapping systems can be displayed by clicking on the coordinates (latitude and longitude) in the top right hand corner of this article.

Neighbouring communes and villages



'Beaucaire' probably is the French version of the Occitan language name 'Bèucaire':

Beaucaire appears as Beaucaire on the 1750 Cassini Map[7] and the same on the 1790 version.[8]


Ancient times

Founded in the 7th century BC, Beaucaire was known as a city on the famous Via Domitia, the first Roman road built in Gaul linking Italy to Spain (121 BC.). It was at this point that the Via Domitia divides in the direction of Arles, Nîmes, Remoulins, and Saint-Gilles. At that time, Beaucaire was called Ugernum. This was where, after the capture of Rome by the Vandals in 455, the Gallo-Roman nobility met to elect Avitus as the new emperor.[9] A Roman mausoleum has been discovered on the Île du Comté.[10]

Middle Ages

Château de Beaucaire, view from the north.

The Middle Ages saw a slowdown in the expansion of the city. Beaucaire did not escape the troubles during this dark period. It underwent invasions of Burgundians, Visigoths, and Saracens. It was at that time that the first ramparts were built and the castle was expanded. The city took the name Beaucaire (which means "beautiful stone", probably in reference to its many buildings, to its quarries, or the fact that it had the first hills on the Rhone coming from the sea).

During the Albigensian Crusade, Raymond VI of Toulouse besieged Beaucaire in May 1216. The efforts of Simon de Montfort to relieve the town were repulsed. The city fell after a three-month siege.

In the 13th century Louis IX made several trips to Beaucaire. The city was expanding and its population increasing. Despite the Hundred Years War and the Wars of Religion (14th to the 16th century), the splendour and refinement of the architecture grew along with the wealth of the Beaucairois merchants.

In 1579 Beaucaire was held by Henri I de Montmorency, the catholic governor of Languedoc, but tolerant. The captain of the city was Jean de Parabere who was soon to play his own game. Damville then provoked a riot to recover the city but even though Parabere was decapitated, the city remained in the hands of the Huguenots, thanks to reinforcements sent by François de Coligny, the son of Gaspard II de Coligny.[11]

Modern era

Beaucaire Fair, coloured engraving from the 18th century.

At the end of the Hundred Years War in 1453, Charles VII of France declared that Beaucaire would become the site of the Fair of la Madeleine, a commercial fair that would enable the trade of goods from all of the Mediterranean Basin countries to all of France. By the mid-seventeenth century, the Fair was the largest commercial fair in the Mediterranean region, allegedly exceeding in a week the total volume of trade done in Marseilles in a year. It remained the dominant Mediterranean trade fair until the arrival of the railway in the mid-nineteenth century.[12] The advent of the railway and the end of river trade as well as the removal of its tax-free status by Napoleon gradually destroyed the Fair of the Madeleine and plunged Beaucaire into anonymity. One result of these years of commercial dominance was the construction of a remarkable number of architecturally significant mansions and palaces by rich merchants of many nationalities. The fair still exists in the form of carnivals, bullfights, and various festivities. Camargue bulls are run through the streets. It always starts on 21 July and always ends on a Monday and lasts at least six days.

French Revolution and Empire

Beaucaire was capital of the district from 1790 to 1795. During the French Revolution the commune was temporarily called Pont-National.[13]

Contemporary period

Pen drawing of the canal at Beaucaire.

At the end of the 19th century and the early 20th century some works of great value are built such as the banquette - a stone retaining wall along the eastern side of the city which protected it from the flooding of the Rhône, food markets, and the Municipal Casino which is now the Festival Hall. It was also at this time that the Canal du Rhône à Sète was widened. It connects Beaucaire to the Canal du Midi.

In 1940 Beaucaire had a large population of Belgian refugees, mostly from Farciennes. They became twin communes in 1969.[14]



Party per saltire, Or and Gules.

Town planning

Beaucaire is one of 79 member communes of the Territorial Coherence Scheme (SCOT) of South Gard and is also one of the 41 communes of Pays Garrigues Costières.


The town of Beaucaire had 7,054 housing units in 2009, nearly 90% of which were primary residences. There are almost equal amounts of detached houses (52%) and apartments (48%) with the majority of homes having 3 or 4 rooms. Only 47% of residents own their own housing. Of the rental housing (3050 units in 2009) one third are HLM.[15]


The Town Hall

List of Successive Mayors[16]

From To Name Party Position
1742 1759 Antoine Nazon
1959 1983 José Boyer PCF General Councilor of the Canton of Beaucaire (1976-1982)
1983 2002 Jean-Marie André DL MP for Gard's 2nd constituency (1993-1997)
2002 2008 Mireille Cellier UMP Regional Councilor for Languedoc-Roussillon (1998-2010)
2008 2014 Jacques Bourbousson UDI President of the CC Beaucaire-Terre d'Argence (2008-2014)
2014 2020 Julien Sanchez FN Regional Councilor for Languedoc-Roussillon then Occitanie (since 2010)

(Not all data is known)

The Municipal Council is composed of 23 members including the Mayor and 9 deputies.[17]


Beaucaire has twinning associations with:[18]


In 2012 the commune had 15,860 inhabitants. The evolution of the number of inhabitants is known from the population censuses conducted in the commune since 1793. From the 21st century, a census of communes with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants is held every five years, unlike larger communes that have a sample survey every year.[Note 1]

Population Change (See database)
1793 1800 1806 1821 1831 1836 1841 1846 1851
8,510 7,943 8,671 9,825 9,967 9,601 9,795 9,725 11,045
1856 1861 1866 1872 1876 1881 1886 1891 1896
12,713 9,544 9,395 8,804 8,777 9,724 9,824 8,947 9,020
1901 1906 1911 1921 1926 1931 1936 1946 1954
9,143 8,764 8,488 7,916 8,479 9,701 10,059 9,343 10,197
1962 1968 1975 1982 1990 1999 2007 2012 -
11,061 12,740 12,829 12,840 13,400 13,748 15,274 15,860 -

Sources : Ldh/EHESS/Cassini until 1962, INSEE database from 1968 (population without double counting and municipal population from 2006)


The commune has:[19]


Since 30 January 2014 Beaucaire has a multi-activity healthcare division with multi care professionals, a dental centre, opticians, and a hearing specialist.[20]

Cultural events and festivities

The releasing of the bulls in the streets of Beaucaire.


The Catholic parish of Beaucaire depends on the diocese of Nîmes, deanery Plaine gardoise.[21] Protestants also have a church in the commune.[22] There is a Mosque for Moslems.[23]


Population and income tax

In 2012 the workforce was 6,719 people, including 1,407 unemployed (14.1%. These people are mostly employees (83.7%) and all work inside the commune (100%).[15] On 1 January 2014 there were a total of 1,533 business enterprises in the commune: 155 in Agriculture, 137 in Industry, 232 in construction, 851 in Trade, transport, and services, 289 in automobile trade and repair, and 158 in Administration, education, health, or social services. Out of this 458 businesses employed staff across all sectors.[24]

Notable businesses in the commune

White beer of Beaucaire, with Camargue rice.

Among local businesses, the Craft Brewery of Beaucaire produces and markets several varieties of beer regionally with some Camargue rice.[25] There are also: a Ciments français cement plant (subsidiary of the Italcementi group),[26] and a Casanis plant from the Bacardi group which markets Get 27.[27] The headquarters of the multinational group Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits (formerly Belvédère) has been located in Beaucaire since 2011.[28]

Culture and heritage

A very large number of buildings and sites are registered as historical monuments. For a complete list including links to descriptions (in French) and some photos click here. Some of the most well known are shown below.

Civil heritage

Religious heritage

Main article: Abbey of Saint-Roman,



Poets, living in or passing through Beaucaire, remembered it through their lyrical writing: Joseph D'Arbaud, Marie-Antoinette Rivière (Antoinette of Beaucaire), Juliette Borely, Artalette of Beaucaire.[31]


Beaucaire has the legend of the formidable drac, a monster rising from the depths of the sea to devour its prey. One day the monster grabbed a young laundress and brought her to his cave. But while the unfortunate woman expected the worst, the drac explained what he wanted of her: he was looking for a nanny for his son, the draconnet. Thus the washerwoman fed the little monster for seven years before being released. But one day at the fair the Drac came to the market, taking a human appearance. The washerwoman recognized her jailer and incited the crowd to riot. Furious at being unmasked, the drac blinded the poor washerwoman who, according to Gervase of Tilbury who was the author of this tale in 1214, remained blinded until the end of her days.

Notable people linked to the commune

See also

Notes and references


  1. At the beginning of the 21st century, the methods of identification have been modified by Law No. 2002-276 of 27 February 2002, the so-called "law of local democracy" and in particular Title V "census operations" allows, after a transitional period running from 2004 to 2008, the annual publication of the legal population of the different French administrative districts. For communes with a population greater than 10,000 inhabitants, a sample survey is conducted annually and the entire territory of these communes is taken into account at the end of the period of five years. The first "legal population" after 1999 under this new law came into force on 1 January 2009 and was based on the census of 2006.


  1. Beaucaire on Lion1906
  2. Inhabitants of Gard (French)
  3. Competition for Towns and Villages in Bloom website Archived December 10, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. (French)
  4. 1 2 3 Beaucaire on Google Maps
  5. 1 2 Beaucaire on the Géoportail from National Geographic Institute (IGN) website (French)
  6. Lexic occitan medieval,
  7. Beaucaire on the 1750 Cassini Map
  8. Beaucaire on the 1790 Cassini Map
  9. Historical Critical Universal Dictionary and Bibliography, Vol II, Louis Mayeul Chaudon, Mame, 1810, p. 93 (French)
  10. Archaeological Map of Gaul (30/2 GARD), Les Editions de la MSH, 1999, 865 pages, p. 230 (French)
  11. Pierre Miquel, The Wars of Religion, Fayard, 1994, 596 pages, (ISBN 2-7242-0785-8), p. 326 (French)
  12. Robb, Graham (2007). The Discovery of France. New York: Norton. pp. 259–61. ISBN 9780393059731.
  13. Beaucaire Communal Notice, Villages of Cassini in the communes of today website, consulted on 12 February 2015 (French)
  14. Arlon and Farciennes sever relations with the cities in the past, F.N., L'Écho, 31 March 2014, consulted on 12 February 2015 (French)
  15. 1 2 INSEE Employment 2012, (French),
  16. List of Mayors of France (French)
  17. art L. 2121-2 of the General Code of Collective Territories (French).
  18. National Commission for Decentralised cooperation (French)
  19. Schools in Beaucaire (French)
  20. Health Centre of Beaucaire, consulted on 12 February 2015 (French)
  21. Catholic Parish, consulted on 12 February 2015 (French)
  22. Reformed Church of France (French)
  23. Muslim Worship, consulted on 12 February 2015 (French)
  24. INSEE Characteristics of Enterprises 2014 (French)
  25. Breweries of Beaucaire, consulted on 12 February 2015 (French)
  26. Italcimenti, consulted on 12 February 2015
  27. The Casanis company transfers its works to Gard, Paul Anglezi, Les Échos, 20 July 1995, consulted on 18 December 2015 (French)
  28. Belvedere: Transferred their head office to Beaucaire, tradingsat (French)
  29. Information panel in the town square and available as an image in Wikipedia Commons, consulted on 12 February 2015 (French)
  30. Abbey Saint-Roman
  31. Elizabeth Blaud-Costes, in Epic of Provençal Costume, from the Orient to the Fair of Beaucaire, from antiquity to the present day, December 2012 (French)
  32. Gard: Toto Betelli 90 years, "the last of the resistant old bullfighters", (French)
  33. Stéphanie Chantry, consulted on 12 February 2015 (French)

External links

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